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Policy of free Internet access for students is being examined
Faculty committees currently are examining the advantages and disadvantages of continuing to provide free Internet access to students, said Glen Mueller, chief information officer, during a question-and-answer session following his annual report to the Faculty Senate on Dec. 5.
Bill Shen, president of the Associated Students, raised the issue at the senate meeting, noting that Stanford students have come to expect free Internet access and free use of e-mail.
Students increasingly are being asked to use e-mail and the Internet to access class assignments, Shen said, and asked Mueller whether the university intends to continue providing the services withoutcharge.
"I don't think there can be a long-term commitment to free anything," Mueller responded. "The issue of charging for network access is being examined [by faculty committees]. Certainly, for the next 12 months, there's nothing planned. But all our services need to be continuously looked at and packaged differently. And any such change [regarding the network access] policy would have at least a 12-month notification period."
Provost Condoleezza Rice said she is concerned about whether the university will be able to support the escalating use of the network, which is used for both academic and non-academic purposes.
"To say that not everything that comes across the Internet is related to teaching and research is an understatement," Rice said. "So, to the degree that people are incented to use badly that which is free, I think we will have a problem."
-By Marisa Cigarroa-